Truth Speaking

Most of us remember that climactic scene at the end of the movie A Few Good Men, where a fired-up Tom Cruise yells at a vein-popping Jack Nicholson, "I just want the truth!" Jack’s response? "You can’t handle the truth!"

Truth is taking a beating in our post-modern world. Gone is the question "What is truth?", replaced with the more skeptical "Is there truth?" Both are good questions from the honest skeptic, but they’re not new ones. The question regarding truth was already posed 2,000 years ago in a scene where Pilate asks a beaten and battered Jesus, "What is truth?" Pilate almost got it right, but not quite.

You see, the question isn’t so much "What is truth?" as it is "Who is Truth?" The question isn’t so much "What is the right way to live?" as it is "Who is the right Person to follow?" The answer to Pilate’s question was standing right in front of him but he couldn’t—or wouldn’t?—see it. Jesus stated that He was the Truth and that the Truth that He embodied would set people free, meaning that fully realized Truth discovery leads to Jesus. Being a Truth Speaking church means that we talk about, and walk in, the freedom that Truth brings.

Because Truth is not only a pursuit of intellect, but also a journey toward relationship. The discovery of Truth then is much more a matter of heart than we may care to admit. It’s interesting to note that even secular neuroscientists have concluded that any human knowledge that leads to life change is one part information and six parts emotion. In other words, it’s what you care about that changes your life. We can have info that doesn’t change us; we all have that. Information doesn’t take things to depth—there has to be something else that drives things deep. You see, it’s possible to believe without caring, but you can’t care without doing.

Does that mean that study and intellect and discovery are bad things? Not by any means: we all need to study and learn, because ultimately all Truth flows out of the One who created it. But Truth isn’t just discovered; it’s revealed by the Spirit of God, who brings revelation. What Jesus tells us is that it’s possible to gain all the wisdom of the world and yet miss out on realizing ultimate Truth. Truth that changes us is as much about what it does to us emotionally as what it does to us intellectually.

The Apostle Paul wrote that people who choose not to follow Jesus have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Religion has gotten it wrong. Religion demands that one follow a list of right and wrongs—the intention is good but the premise is bad. Jesus always called people to follow Him, not to a list of right and wrongs. Religion makes following God informational, but Jesus makes it emotional, personal, relational. Realizing Truth begins by following Jesus; to not follow Jesus means that one is exchanging Truth for a lie.

Encountering ultimate Truth in the person of Jesus Christ means that we have the benefit of walking in freedom but it also demands that we walk in courage and boldness. It means that we walk in the light and live truthful lives, seen in both what we do and what we say. It demands that we not turn a blind eye to the sin that flies contrary to the Truth of God. Because Truth is Jesus, being a Truth Speaking church means that we speak – both in word and deed – like Jesus.